VMAP for video ad insertion

A VMAP (Video Multiple Ads Playlist) is an IAB spec that describes the ads on a particular piece of video content. It does this by containing VAST tags along with timing data. The IAB defines VMAP as the standard for multi-ad playlists that video content owners can use to describe the structure for ad inventory insertion when they don't control the player or distribution of their content.

  • If you're an Ad Manager publisher that has first right for a video program's ad inventory, VMAP allows you to control this inventory more easily across multiple partner sites.
  • If you're an Ad Manager publisher using ad rules to structure your video ad inventory and ad breaks during long-form video content, including the number and placement of ad breaks, VMAP allows you to seamlessly communicate with other partners via a standard for ad break structures.
  • If you're a distributor, the IMA SDK allows you to accept VMAP responses from third-party content partners.

VMAP XML tags

If you use video ad rules when you make an ad request to Ad Manager, you're not going to get back a VAST XML right away, you're going to get a VMAP XML.

See samples of VMAP tags on the Google IMA SDK site.

Within the content of the VMAP XML tag you can see the vmap:VMAP element, instead of VAST. Each ad will have it's own vmap:AdSource id. You might see separate ads for pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and post-rolls. All of them have an ad tag URI, which go to Ad Manager and request a VAST XML. If you were to copy and paste these URLs into another a browser, you should get back an actual VAST XML. Your player should obtain the XML via the redirect.

If you're using ad rules with bumpers, your VMAP XML might be slightly larger and more complex, but it's basically the same structure. You'll notice vmap:Extension type="bumper" in the XML.

VMAP and your video player

When your player receives an ad rules (VMAP) response, it needs to make the request for each ad at the appropriate time, follow any redirects, choose the right media file, and respond with any tracking events.

Your video player may use the IMA SDK, which helps the player generate ad requests to Google, and parses VAST and VMAP XML responses. Using VMAP means rules and ad pods no longer depend on custom XML calls, which are not always supported across players and partners.

VMAP responds with VAST 3 ad calls, including granular error codes.

Enable VMAP for your network

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Admin and then Video and then Video settings.
  3. Select VMAP 1 as the "VMAP version".
  4. Click Save.
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